We all use computers but how many of us are confident with the definitions surrounding the technology? After all, those of us who grew up with floppy disks started out confused. Those “floppy” disks felt hard when you handled them. Could there be more confusion? Not with the following list to help you get started. Pay attention!computer

ALPHANUMERIC: the ultimate destination of the Enterprise as outlined in Captain Kirk’s starship manual.

COMPILER: the machine used by doctors who specialize in infertility, used to extract and store semen for future use.

INPUT/OUTPUT: not content with normal usage, and being unable to come up with some fancy-shmancy words for “put in” and “put out,” some nerds merely switched the order and congratulated themselves on some “new” hi-tech words!

DATA: This can mean almost anything; the important thing is how you pronounce it. DATA (rhymes with “matter”) shows you went to Harvard Law School; DATA (rhymes with “later”) indicates you know next to nothing about anything, but most everything about something. Those who use the word “info” really have their act together.

DOS: an exclamation you hope is made by your envious friends upon seeing your computer set-up: “Dos nice!”

computer hardwareBIT: Like a shtick, as in, “that’s a cute bit!”

ANALOG: “How do you start a fire?” “Use newspapers, kindling, analog.”

SOFTWARE: What happens to your hardware if you place the computer too close to a heat source.

USB PORT: Do not use Unless Something Breaks.”

MOTHER BOARD: This is the key to the whole thing! If you’re good to your mother, it will pay you back in a kinder, more compassionate computer.

If you’ve read this far and haven’t learned anything new, you can look forward to “A Hundred Days to a Better Vocabulary with the Metric System” in which you will be introduced to the idiom, “Give him a centimeter and he’ll take a meter!” And you’ll learn that a gram is your mother’s mother, but only if she is shorter than 5’1” – that’s 155 cm for those of you who haven’t fallen asleep yet.


  1. I’ve been trying to come up with a computer poem involving “dater” and “datter” but haven’t stumbled onto anything I’ve liked.

    So I’ll mention this instead. The infamous computer “byte” really is named after the idea of taking a “bite” of dater (or datter, if you prefer). The “y” just makes it seem computer-y. (One can also use the “z” and “x” that way. Clearly Zyrtec is an advanced computer product, and obviously “Wyrd Smythe” has to be an errant AI program escaped into the wilds of the interweb. And, “Zyzzyx” absolutely, positively has to involve aliens as well as advanced quantum computers!)

    More to the point, there are occasions where, in the course of our mystic machinations, we computer wizards deal with half-bytes of daytah. We call those “nybbles.”

    No, really, we do. You could look it up.

    • Thanks, you’re always informative. I do know about nybbles and bytes; remember, I was a math teacher!

      • I figured you did! 🙂

  2. Linda Levine

    surely beats using long words especially for the younger generation. I always feel that new words (when the old are perfectly good) is a screen for shallowness on thepart of the inventor.

  3. Ha! Captain Kirk was really ahead of his time! I think the Enterprise ran on lithium crystals analog – if I’m not mistaken. I liked that you follow your own blog Arlene. You’re my kind of blogger!! 😀

    • Hey, every follower that I have is a triumph! Why not self-follow? After visiting your blog and reading some posts, I am now following you. I, too, like your kind of humor!

      • Oh yay! Thanks for the follow! I think I’ll add my blog to my list too. Why not? And it is possible to “like” your own post, fyi and I’ve done that before. HA!

  4. I wonder if it isn’t a double-whammy. All industries, all specialties, have their lingo; one thing that happened is that the computer industry ran into the real world. The other thing is that we’re in a period of unprecedented social and technological growth.

    Science itself has slowed down in some regards, so all that energy has turned from discovery to implementation. My grandfather went from seeing phones and TVs invented to seeing a man walk on the moon. I’ve gone from a world of room-sized (yet very small, very slow) computers and rotary-dial phones to smart phones and almost unimaginable common and cheap computer power.

    One wonders how the pace can keep up, let alone continue to accelerate.

  5. I feel badly for the older generation – when has there ever been such a bizarre leap in vocabulary? I’m sure somebody has written about that somewhere, but I don’t feel like Googling it (that’s got to sound really dirty to somebody). Funny post, trite comment on it!

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